Prevention of hospital readmission and emergency department (ED) utilization will be a crucial strategy in reducing health care costs. There has been limited research on nurse assessment and patient perceptions of discharge readiness in relation to postdischarge outcomes.
To investigate the association of nurse and patient assessments of discharge readiness with postdischarge readmissions and ED visits.
Hierarchical regression analysis of readmission or ED utilization using independent nurse and patient assessments of discharge readiness and patient characteristics as explanatory variables, with hospital and unit fixed effects.
A total of 162 adult medical-surgical patients and their discharging nurses from 13 medical-surgical units of 4 Midwestern hospitals.
Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale completed independently by patients and their discharging nurses within 4 hours before hospital discharge; Postdischarge utilization (unplanned readmission or ED visit within 30 days postdischarge).
Correlations between nurse assessment and patient perceptions of discharge readiness were low (r = 0.15–0.32). Nurses rated patient readiness higher than patients themselves. Controlling for patient characteristics, nurse readiness for hospital discharge scale score (odds ratio = 0.57, P = 0.05) but not patient readiness for hospital discharge scale score was associated with postdischarge utilization.
Nurse assessment was more strongly associated with postdischarge utilization than patient self-assessment. Formalizing nurse assessment of discharge readiness could facilitate identification of patients at risk for readmission or ED utilization before discharge when anticipatory interventions could prevent avoidable postdischarge utilization.
From the Marquette University College of Nursing and College of Business Administration, Department of Economics, Milwaukee, WI.
Supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative.
Reprints: Marianne Weiss, RN, DNSc, Marquette University College of Nursing, PO Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-mail: Marianne.firstname.lastname@example.org.